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We have greatly spurred economic growth, typified change – NIMASA DG

… As Final Billing Regime,
Effective Maritime Security, Major Economic Landmarks Take Root

…To Honour Stakeholders to
Encourage Increase in Maritime Investments

Director-General NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside (middle); flanked by Executive Director, Operations, Engr. Rotimi Fashakin (second right); Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Dr. Bashir Jamoh (second left), Director, Admin and Human Resources, Hajia Aisha Musa (left), and Director, Special Duties, Reform Coordination and Technical Cooperation, Mrs. Rita Uruakpa (right), at a recent press conference ahead of NIMASA’s Corporate Dinner and Awards ceremony.

The Director-General of Nigerian
Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has
said the Agency’s regulatory and promotional activities have been a major
economic stimulus for the country, especially in the last one year.

Dr. Peterside stated this at the weekend in Lagos during a world press conference ahead of
NIMASA’s Annual Corporate Dinner and Awards ceremony.
He said the Agency had symbolised
change, declaring, “No organisation in the country currently typifies change
more than NIMASA.”

The Director-General identified
recent transformations in the country’s maritime administration that had been
major economic drivers to include the Final Billing System for Freight Charges,
Improved Maritime Safety, Security, and Domain Awareness, and the Tripartite
Agreement by Maritime Stakeholders.

Other critical changes in the
sector, according to Dr. Peterside, are the renewed capacity building drive through
implementation of a five-year cabotage cessation plan, and the rejigging of the
Nigerian Ship Registry.

 He said before Final Billing System introduced
by his administration, it took between five and 10 years to reconcile bills in
relation to the three per cent freight charge on vessels coming into the
country. With this tardy system, such vessels were always on NIMASA’s books as
owing or having bills to reconcile.

“But with the Final Billing
System, we have put an end to double billing, over-billing, and protracted
billing. The system ensures closure of all vessel billing transactions within
two weeks after departure,” Peterside stated, adding, “This has led to improved
customer satisfaction.” 

He said the country had equally
made major strides in the drive for improved maritime domain awareness. “With
the use of satellite surveillance technologies, in combination with
intelligence systems, we are able to identify, with a consistent 365 days and a
five-year profile, all vessels that visit our Exclusive Economic Zone. We are
further able to identify vessels that are believed to be engaging in suspicious
activities and take appropriate actions,” he explained.
NIMASA has launched a five-year
Cabotage cessation plan beginning 2021, aimed at ending the grant of Cabotage
waivers and ensuring full implementation of the Coastal and Inland Shipping
(Cabotage) Act 2003, which came into force in 2004.

The NIMASA DG said the new cabotage
regime had started making impact. 
According to him, “There has been an increase
in the number of wholly-owned Nigerian vessels on the Nigerian Cabotage
register. The 2018 half year result showed that 125 vessels were registered,
representing a 33 per cent increase when compared with the 94 registered in the
corresponding period in 2017. Currently, there are more than 200 vessels
captured in the Cabotage register.

“Also, about 68 per cent of vessels
trading within the country’s maritime space are Nigerian-flagged.”

On maritime safety, which is one
of the core mandates of NIMSA, Dr. Peterside highlighted the following achievements in
the preceding year: the emergence of Nigeria as the most outstanding in Port
and Flag State Control in the West and Central Africa Sub-Region in a report by
the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which noted that the country had
the highest port state inspection; increased Certificate of Competency
examinations; inauguration of Search and Rescue volunteers in 10 coastal
states; development and implementation of Biometric data for non-conventional
vessels and small boats; and automation of the process for issuance of Maritime
Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) and call Sign.

In the area of maritime security, the DG said NIMASA had in collaboration with the Ministries of Transportation
and Defence, the Nigerian Navy and other relevant security agencies established
a multidimensional solution to the issues through the Deep Blue Project. 

The
Integrated National Maritime Surveillance and Security Infrastructure (The Deep
Blue Project) is a multipronged solution to the issue of insecurity in
Nigeria’s territorial waters and the entire Gulf of Guinea. 

It comprises a
training component and the acquisition of assets, such as fast intervention
vessels, surveillance aircraft, and other facilities, including a command and
control centre for data collection and information sharing that will aid the
goals of targeted enforcement.

The Command, Control, Computer
Communication and information centre, otherwise known as the C4i Centre, of the
Deep Blue Project has commenced operations on a 24-hour basis at NIMASA’s
Maritime Resource Development Facility at Kirikiri, in Lagos.

Nigeria hosted a Global Maritime
Security Conference in Abuja last October as part of efforts to achieve a
holistic solution to security issues in the country’s maritime domain.

Dr. Peterside said, “The Deep Blue
Project and the hosting of the global security conference are part of efforts
to complement on-going actions of the Nigerian Navy, which is the largest in
that region.” 

Secretary General of the
International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Kitack Lim, lauded the conference as
the most successful maritime security conference the world had seen in the last
decade.

 Lim also described Nigeria as the most improved maritime administration
since his tenure as Secretary General of IMO.

One of the Agency’s major areas
of focus in 2019 with respect to Maritime Labour was employment and capacity
development of seafarers and dockworkers.

“Perhaps, the biggest achievement
in the area of maritime labour last year was the tripartite agreement signed by
stakeholders, which NIMASA facilitated,” Dr. Peterside stated.
The Agency facilitated the
conclusion of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and its endorsement by
the Tripartite Parties under the National Joint Industrial Council for
Seafarers and Dockworkers (NJIC). 

With this, NIMASA, in conjunction with the tripartite
stakeholders (Employers and Employees), successfully completed the
International Labour Organisation (ILO) reports on Maritime Labour Conventions
(MLC, 2006 and Dockwork Convention, 1973).

The Director-General announced
the holding of the Agency’s Corporate Dinner and Awards on January 18, saying
the annual event started in 2018 is an occasion to celebrate maritime industry
stakeholders and staff of NIMASA who have made outstanding contributions to the
growth of the sector.

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